Thoughts on Game No. 16: Cavaliers 112, Warriors 97
By Geoff Lepper
When the Golden State Warriors put together Stephen Jackson with Matt Barnes and Baron Davis almost two years ago, skeptics wondered how long it would take before three players with those kind of combustible on-court personalities totally lost it in an emotional outburst.
As it turned out, the triumvirate worked surprisingly well. Certainly, there were hiccups in the playoffs — the ejections in Dallas, the bitter ending in Salt Lake City — but in general, when one of the three started to have his blood boil because of a blown call or a cheap shot, the other two were there to turn that fire into constructive motivation, rather than destructive rage.
Sixteen games into the 2008-09 Warriors season, it’s becoming clear: Jackson needs an equal to provide him the leadership he’s being asked to give the rest of the team. There is no calming factor in place when Jackson starts to get his dander up, and that helps neither him nor the Warriors.
Without someone to talk in Jackson’s ear and focus his indignation, it seems like whenever he feels wronged by the referees, the next possession is practically guaranteed to come down to him going mano y mano, as if to say to the officiating crew, “You think I didn’t get fouled last time? How about now?”
The Warriors’ 112-97 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday gave us yet another example.
With the Warriors holding a 38-34 lead, Jackson dribbled into traffic, created contact but didn’t get a call. The next time down the floor, Jackson went on what I described in my notes as “a frustration drive,” although this time it worked out in his favor, with a foul called on Anderson Varejao.
It didn’t stop there. Jackson dominated the next possession, posting up Mo Williams and drawing another foul. The next time down, he posted up but found Corey Maggette for a 3-pointer. (Maggette promptly airballed it, but that’s a whole other topic.)
Finally, Jackson posted up Daniel Gibson and, while working with his back to the basket, had the ball stolen by LeBron James, who went coast-to-coast for the dunk.
After Andris Biedrins missed in the lane, Jackson deliberately hacked James. Then he yapped at a referee (I believe it was Tom Washington, but can’t be sure) on his way to the bench after being pulled for Jamal Crawford.
I can empathize with Jackson’s frustration. I don’t think this isn’t just about one missed call; it’s about being unable to change the direction of a Golden State team that is now 5-11 and will probably go 0-for-this-road-trip. But it’s up to one of Jackson’s teammates to take on that role of keeping Jackson focused on the task at hand. Or else the cycle will just keep repeating.
Marcus Thompson wrote earlier this week about the added attention that Biedrins is drawing from opposing defenses. And the situation is only becoming more and more pronounced.
Biedrins’ favorite post move — coming from the right block and moving into the lane with a left-handed dribble or two — is consistently being taken away. (Witness last night in the second quarter, when Biedrins rolled to the hoop but had been pushed so far out by Zydrunas Ilgauskas, that what was drawn up to be a 3-foot flip shot became an 8-foot and neither Biedrins nor Warriors have been able to change that fact.
Additionally, Biedrins’ hands haven’t been the same as last season; the first pass that came his way was a zipped deal from Jackson, but it was the same type of ball he caught all the time a year ago. This one, however, went off Biedrins’ mitt and out of bounds. His turnovers have jumped from 2.0 per game through the first 12 contests to 3.0 per game on this trip, including a season-high-tying five in Washington.
The bigger problem, however, was on defense. Biedrins is still undersized when banging against a larger player such as Ilgauskas, and Z had his way with Biedrins on Friday. And when Biedrins tried to use his quickness to get around Ilgauskas — the way he would attack a bigger player in past seasons — it didn’t work. We’ll see what kind of adjustments Biedrins makes in the upcoming days.
The Lineup Project
Continuing our look at the Warriors’ use of small (one big man), medium (two) and large (three) lineups. For Friday:
Lineup Score Time
Large 2-2 1:06
Medium 62-56, GSW 25:48
Small 54-33, CLE 21:06
That’s a point-a-minute deficit with the small ball group, which endured a 32-22 run bridging the first and second quarters and then went on a 22-11 slide to finish the third period.
Without Monta . . .
The loss in Cleveland was not unexpected, so the Warriors didn’t fall any farther behind. But they’re still on pace for an 8-18 record come the middle of December.
5 Responses to “Thoughts on Game No. 16: Cavaliers 112, Warriors 97”
I hate Jackson also….
and this lineups analysis clearly shows, over the last ~5 games, that having 2 big men on the court is much more favorable, but Nelson is not seeing it this way, is he?
Isn’t the head coach supposed to not only appoint a leader who can handle themselves, but step up and control that player if he does lose focus?
So far we have heard that Nellie doesnt talk much during timeouts sometimes, we have very, very few set plays, our defensive scheme has no consistency or reason… 6 million annually for what? Some one-line zingers on how Marcus Williams is fat?
I’d agree with above- if Jack needs someone to control him . . . shouldn’t that task and responsibility fall on the coach? It’s not like he’s busy calling plays (nonexistent or predictable) or setting up the defense (porous)
Moreover, Jack’s childishness is just another reason why it’s stupid to guarantee him 4 years of money. What the hell is he playing for? We can’t trade him, we won’t bench him - we’ve given a child throwing a temper tantrum the keys to the asylum.
Is it that hard to see the folly when our “leader” is the one who is the least disciplined and most immature?
Nellie and Jack have grown complacent.
[...] Thoughts on Game No. 16: Cavaliers 112, Warriors 97 By Geoff Lepper 48minutes.net When the Golden State Warriors put together Stephen Jackson with Matt Barnes and Baron Davis almost two years ago, skeptics wondered how long it would take before three players with those kind of … [...]
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TagsAcie Law Al Harrington Allen Iverson Andris Biedrins Anthony Morrow Anthony Randolph Baron Davis Brandan Wright C.J. Watson Chris Cohan Chris Hunter Chris Mullin Corey Maggette Dan Dickau DeMarcus Nelson Devean George Don Nelson Gilbert Arenas Jamal Crawford Jason Richardson Jeff Fried Jermareo Davidson Keith Smart Kelenna Azubuike Kevin Durant Kevin Garnett Kobe Bryant Larry Riley Marco Belinelli Marcus Williams Matt Barnes Mickael Pietrus Mikki Moore Monta Ellis Patrick O'Bryant Richard Hendrix Robert Rowell Rob Kurz Ronny Turiaf Stephen Curry Stephen Jackson Stephon Marbury Steve Nash Troy Murphy Vladimir Radmanovic
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